Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 15 years. Eight years ago, I was on an online message board. I was only hoping to have fun, talk about life and make online “friends.” But while on there, I met a man.
We started chatting online and then on the phone. I thought it was a simple flirtation. My husband had a job that kept him away a lot, and I was lonely and not thinking straight. Long story short, we ended up having an affair that lasted five years, on and off. I ended it three years ago when my husband found out. Fortunately, he forgave me, and we moved on.
The problem is, our sex life, which was never highly active, became nil. We haven’t had sex in three years. He loves me, and I love him. He says he forgives me and that he simply no longer desires sex — with anyone. I believe him. But I feel that I am still being punished for my indiscretion. I will never cheat on him again, but I wonder if this will be my life from now on. What can I do?
— Neglected Wife
Dear Wife: It’s possible that your husband is still angry with you. Forgiveness after an affair is a difficult and ongoing process. It takes a great deal of time. However, when you say your sex life was never particularly active, there could be more going on. Ask your husband to have his testosterone checked, and if that doesn’t help, please get counseling and work on this.
Dear Annie: I am 16, and as much as I am grateful for everything I have, I haven’t been feeling very well. I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m always exhausted, tired and weak, and sometimes nervous and anxious. Sometimes I am angry, and then a minute later, I’m calm, sad or cranky. I don’t enjoy doing anything anymore. My grades keep going down. I have a hard time concentrating and get distracted easily.
I do get headaches on occasion, and they are quite painful. When I was really sad, I stopped eating.
I feel lost. I don’t know what I am doing and just feel so down. I don’t have anyone to talk to about this. I can’t tell my parents because I’m afraid they will think I’m crazy. There is one teacher I could talk to, but I won’t see her until school starts. What should I do?
— Need Help
Dear Need: Some of your mood swings could be due to hormonal changes in your body, and the headaches could be related to your menstrual cycle. Lack of focus can be ADD. However, the exhaustion and weakness could indicate a physical problem. No one would think you are crazy if you start there.
Tell your parents that you aren’t feeling well. Say you have painful headaches and often feel weak. Ask them to make an appointment for you to see a doctor for a checkup, and then discuss all of these things with the physician. When school starts again, find that special teacher and ask when she is available for a private discussion.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Can’t Believe Adults Act This Way,” whose daughter just began her first teaching job and is having a nightmare year due to staff bullies. I could have written that, although in my case, the main bully was the principal. I received nasty emails from her on a daily basis, and she once called me into her office to say she didn’t like me.
The young teacher needs to ignore these bullies and try to do her job. If that becomes impossible, she should report it to the teachers union. It’s surprising how these administrators and fellow teachers can harass someone and then expect perfect performance. A union rep will handle the issue, and she’ll be represented by a trained advocate.
— Davenport, Iowa
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